Burmese photographer showcases images of home country

By Kevin Smith, staff writer, @KevSmith88

 ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. (Oct. 19) – Throughout his life, Law Eh Soe struggled to comprehend the citizen/government struggle unfolding in his home country of Burma (also known as Myanmar), a small sovereign state in Southeast Asia. 

A citizen of Rangoon, Burma, Soe’s passion for photojournalism shines through in his photos that tell stories of struggle. Now exiled to America and living in Buffalo, N.Y., Soe visits different colleges across the country telling his stories of struggle.  

Soe has spent most of his life on the run, avoiding government officials due to risky photo taking during monk uprisings. He hid in friends’ houses before escaping to the U.S.

His latest venture brought him to the St. Bonaventure University campus on Tuesday afternoon where he showcased his dramatic images and small documentary titled “Click in Fear: Burma photography.”

Dean Pauline Hoffmann of the Russell J. Jandoli School of Journalism and Mass Communication introduced Soe and gave a brief overview of his works in photojournalism and the stories incorporated.

“It is difficult for us in the United States to understand that the freedoms and liberties we enjoy in this country are not universal,” said Hoffmann. “Law was essentially forced to flee his country because of his photographs. I am thrilled that we are able to bring a photojournalist of Law’s stature to SBU.”

Soe’s photos depict the struggles between the people of Burma and the government as they try to reform a repressive military government. His mini documentary sent a strong message about what he witnessed during the hardships of Burma’s struggle to compromise with its government.

“I thought it was powerful message and something more people should notice,” said Richard Lee, a journalism and mass communication professor. “I tell my students all the time this is what journalism is all about and what it’s made of: the ability to tell an inspiring story.”

Soe gave a brief speech on the video and the photos portrayed in “Click in fear,” especially the legendary monk screaming and raising his arm while holding a black oval shaped like a football.

“It’s like an iron curtain in Burma; they want to block the world from seeing the country,” Law said in an interview with the Democratic Voices of Burma website. “But for me, I decided, one day I will become a photojournalist. I didn’t become a photojournalist because I was hard-working; I became a photojournalist because my heart was burning for it.”

With a new and happy life in Buffalo, Soe said he is still haunted by the people he left behind in Burma.

“Not a day goes by where I don’t think of the people in Burma,” Soe added in his presentation. “I’m filled with guilt and the urge to help them any way I can, but I know it’s impossible.”

Even with the difficulty of not being in Burma, Soe cherishes his time in America and the opportunity he has been given to travel across the country presenting photos of his past life.

“His images are very eye-opening and hard to not feel sympathy for his work,” Lee added. “Photos should always tell a story, and in this instance, he’s telling of a historical event in his home country.”

Some of Soe’s photos will be on display in the rotunda at the Quick Arts Center until Nov. 19.


Bonnies Inconsistent Offense the culprit in Series Loss

[Photo courtesy of gobonnies.com ]

By Kevin Smith, Staff Writer, @kevsmith88

St. Bonaventure baseball team defeated Fordham 12-0 in their Atlantic 10 home opener at Fred Handler Park over the weekend, but it was not a foreshadowing of how the series would turn out.

The Bonnies could not capitalize on their dominating series-opening performance, dropping the last two games, sending them below .500 on the season at 10-11 (2-4).

But first the positives.

An ace is someone who can take the hill on any day and completely shut down the opposition and the Bonnies have exactly that in redshirt senior Eddie Gray.

Gray was masterful on the mound, twirling seven innings of shutout ball, allowing just two hits and racking up seven strikeouts.

“Gray pitched like he always does,” Bona coach Larry Sudbrook said. “We just didn’t get that repeat quality start from our other starters. Pitching is our strong point on this team; we need to make sure that’s still the case.”

However, after this past weekend there are questions about the once preconceived strength of the team.

Facing a team that had a team batting average of .228, Jordan Crane and Cael Johnson surrendered a combined 16 hits in only 12 innings pitched, limiting the chances of a Bona win.

“I have given Eddie’s performance an A cause he didn’t even allow a run on 2nd base,” Sudbrook said. “The other pitchers are stuck with a C because their performances were mediocre.”

But Sudbrook’s is not concerned about the pitching. His focus is entirely on the lack of consistent hitting.

After scoring 12 runs in the opening game of the series, they managed just a total of six over the final two.

“Our hitting just needs to improve there’s no question about it,” Sudbrook said. “We are swinging too early, too late, and not taking enough pitches.”

But there is one Bona player who is on a tear — senior center fielder Nick Brennen. 

Brennen had a down season last year, but his current 16-game hit streak has him pointed in the right direction.

“As you can see from Brennen’s numbers last year he struck out a lot and wasn’t patient with his pitches,” Sudbrook added. “Now, he is more patient, taking walks, and contributing any way he can even as a lead-off hitter.”

However, the hit streak has not translated into wins on the field as the team is only 7-9 through his stretch of hot hitting.

But they hope to change their fortunes against Big 4 rival Buffalo today, while taking advantage of a pitching staff that has surrendered 156 runs in only 181 innings pitched.


NBA: Lin’s rise is an inspiration to many

[Photo courtesy of USA Today]

By Kevin Smith, staff writer, @Kevsmith88

Linsanity. Linning. Linderella.

These are a few of the many puns pressed onto the surprising sensation that is Jeremy Lin.

His sudden ascension from the last seat on the bench to the Knicks starting point guard has seemingly saved their season from being an epic failure.

Analysts and fans alike have penned Lin as another Tim Tebow. But that can not be further from the truth.

Tebow’s rise centered around his humble words and religious background while leading the Denver Broncos from the ashes to a playoff berth.

The only comparison that holds truth is the humbleness displayed by the former Harvard graduate. 

But the fascination does not end with his ties to the Crimson. It goes to his ethnicity — Asian-American.

Lin has spoken of being overlooked and after going undrafted, being waived by three different teams and almost cut from the Knicks in early January — the 23-year-old has experienced ups and downs.

Now imagine where the Knicks would be without their newest star.

New York had a record of 8-15 before Lin became a full-time starter. He has since led them to an 8-2 record since that point, once again making the Knicks a dangerous team.

Lin is averaging 14.4 points per game to go along with 5.8 assists in helping the Knicks discover their identity — a pass-first team that moves the ball with rapid efficiency.

This philosophy led them to surprise wins over the Los Angeles Lakers and the defending NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks.

The only aspect one can point to as a need for improvement is his penchent for turnovers, but his high minutes played per game can be a factor.

Off the court Lin has had an even bigger impact.

He owns the highest selling jersey in the NBA, helped Madison Square Garden’s stock rise by 11 percent and increased sales and traffic to the Knicks online site by more than 4,000 percent

His impact is even felt on the road.

Lin’s stardom led to sell-outs in both Toronto and Minnesota, including a standing ovation as his buzzer-beating 3-pointer delivered a Knicks win over the Rapters.

His story exemplifies the old saying of never giving up.

Through trials and turbulations, Lin’s confidence has never wavered.

Now, through 10 games as a starter Lin has facinated and captivated many, becoming both the story of the year and inspiration for those who have also been overlooked.



Baseball Preview: A-10 Tournament is the goal

[Photo courtesy of Tony Lee ]

By Kevin Smith, Staff Writer, @kevsmith88


 That is how the St. Bonaventure Baseball team has been built up to since the 2010 season. 

The 2010 season was a learning curve with a mostly freshman team, ending in a 17-31 finish.

Last season, with one year under their belts, the Bonnies fell just short of advancing to the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament.

Now, with the team filled with two-year veterans, the Bonnies could have the breakout year they have been waiting for.

However, St. Bonaventure had been picked to finish 10th in the A-10 coaches poll, a mark head coach Larry Sudbrook said means nothing. 

“This preseason ranking is just a number; it means nothing to me and my team,” Sudbrook said. “My gut tells me we have a lot of promise to have a good season and punch our ticket for the Atlantic 10 tournament.” 

The Bonnies certainly have the players capable of making a run.

As always, it starts with pitching and junior Eddie Gray leads the pack with a chance of being drafted by Major League Baseball later this season.

Last season, Gray led the team with 80 innings pitched, recorded six wins and compiled 57 strikeouts. 

Additionally, his earned run average of 3.47 was second-best on the team, trailing only Jordan Crane’s 2.76.  

Sudbrook said his No. 2 and No. 3 starters will be Crane and Cael Johnson, both seniors and who he calls the foundation of the team.

“These three guys are rock of this team because they have the potential to go deep into game and get us a win,” Sudbrook said. “These guys want to win now cause they might not be back next season.”

Strength up the middle is essential to win and the Bonnies middle infield is in good hands with junior shortstop Billy Urban and junior second baseman Jason Radwan.

Urban, an all-academic selection, led the A-10 with a .359 Batting Average and led the Bonnies with 13 home runs and 41 runs batted in. 

Radwan, a second-team all conference selection, led all A-10 second baseman with a .324 batting average and clubbed five home runs along with 34 RBI’s.

Sudbrook has most of his team’s roles filled except the bullpen roles of lefty specialist and a closer.

“Those holes are very important to fill,” Sudbrook said. Hopefully we’ll be able to find out who will be able to fill those holes during our trip to Florida.”

St. Bonaventure begins their 2012 campaign Feb. 24 against Western Michigan. 

The Bonnies will play their first conference game in Ohio against Dayton for a three-game set, beginning March 23. 

This year’s Atlantic 10 tournament will be hosted by Fordham starting on May 23 and the final will be televised on CBS Sports Network. 

But Sudbrook does not allow himself to think that far ahead.

“I’m not thinking too far here.” Sudbrook said. “We still have a long ways to go and our first step is the first game down in Winter Haven.”

However, Sudbrook has his goal in place and believes it can be accomplished.

“My goal is to make it to A-10 Championship, no question,” Sudbrook replied. “We have the talent to make it far; we just need to bring chemistry as well.”